Chinese athletes opened their 2012 indoor season on Monday (13) and Tuesday (14) with some surprising success in Nanjing. With the country’s best not competing due to the upcoming Asian Indoor Championships next weekend in Hangzhou, there was still plenty to cheer about.
The first big result of the meet came on Monday morning with 28-year-old Zhang Jun bettering the Asian indoor record in the men’s Shot Put with a 20.16m toss for the win. This was the first time for a Chinese thrower to go over 20 metres indoors and also the first time for Zhang in all conditions since December 2009, when he set the outdoor national record at 20.41m when winning the East Asian Games in Macau. Zhang added seven centimetres to the previous Asian mark of 20.09m set by Khaled Habash Al-Suwaidi (KSA) in February 2006.
In second place 24-year-old Wang Guangfu also made good progress with a 19.53m personal best. The Zhengzhou athlete broke the 19-metre line for the first time in 2011 outdoors at the National Championships in Hefei (19.07m).
There was time for a women’s record as well during the first day. Twenty-two-year-old Xue Fei, the best middle distance runner in China for a few years now, became the first Chinese to go under 4:10 in the 1500m winning with a 4:09.71 national record.
The best results at the world level were achieved in the men’s Long Jump, where Zhang Xiaoyi missed the world lead by a mere four centimetres winning with an 8.20m personal best. Yun Zhiming, 23, made a breakthrough in second place reaching 8.17m (PB) while Tang Gongchen was the third athlete over eight metres with an 8.03m PB.
In the Triple Jump Cao Shuo emerged as the winner with 17.00m, reaching 17 metres for the first time since May 2009, when he jumped 17.13m, the best ever result for a 17-year-old. Asian outdoor record holder Li Yanxi (17.59m in 2009), is slowly coming back to form after injuries and was second with a 16.71m result, his best indoors since 2008.
Lao Yi won the tight men’s 60m final in 6.65 ahead of Guo Fan’s 6.66 while Jiang Fan won the 60m hurdles in 7.76.
Zheng Xingjuan, who tied for fifth at the 2010 World Indoor Championships, opened her high jump season with a 1.88m win. Li Ling cleared 4.40m in the Pole Vault and Xie Limei won the Triple Jump with a 14.21m leap, her best indoors since 2008. Liu Xiangrong won the Shot Put with a 18.46m season’s best.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF